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Cheap underwater sonar

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Admin:
Anyone know where I can get cheap (under $500) underwater sonar sensors?

It must be easily to interface with a microcontroller, and not be bigger than 4"x4"x4"-ish.

Those cheap fish finder sonar appear useful, does anyone know how to hack them?

ilovetabasco:
Are you competing in the AUV competition? (http://www.auvsi.org/competitions/water.cfm)

My school took 5th last year and pushed MIT to the sun! (the top five teams from the previous year get the shaded spots)

Admin:
I am building a robot fish for research on fish propulsion (I cant give out more details until the paper release in April, 2007).

I am trying to make the AUV small enough to fit inside a backpack and yet still have effective sensors, so was lookin for other ideas . . .

Yea I saw the video from the competition a few months ago, was studying it for ideas to 'steal'  ;)

ilovetabasco:
What capabilties are you looking for? I know our AUV team originally built a depth sounding sonar that was really cheap and easy. I would imagine the fish finder could be hacked with great difficulty, but their resolution is probably too course and effective range to great for your needs, and of course most of them are 2D.

The AUV guys recently got REALLY fancy, but their solution is way to big for what you're looking for (not to mention expensive!).

Good luck w/ ur project. I can't help but think of that dolphin from SeaQuest that John Brandis rode around in. Can't wait to hear the results in 6 months!

Admin:
Initially it must work in just a swimming pool, for experimental test work. The long term however, it must be capable of navigating ocean shorelines and coral reef like environments. Sonar is required for the ocean environment, but would be nice for the pool experiments. Depth will never go below ~50 feet.

I would need the device to locate and follow slow moving objects about the size of a small car from a max of 50-ish feet away. So its just short range.

Price isnt a problem, I can afford it. Small size, and interfacibility with a microcontroller, is however a must.

2D low quality coarse resolution sonar is fine. I know a few algorithms that can estimate 3D using only 2D info. No precision work being done.

I searched all the companies that supplied sonar for each team for the AUV contest you mentioned, but the weight for even the smallest lightest ones were almost equal to the weight of my vehicle (8 pounds).

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